Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nerdfest 2014: some photos!

I may have missed Bison and the Misfits this weekend, but I briefly checked out Nerdfest 2014, curated at the Rickshaw by the former "oboe of death" from Scythia, Morgan Zentner. If you're looking to buy chainmail or a polished, sterilized horn to drink your mead out of, Nerdfest seems like a great place to go; it was also quite amusing as a voyeur. My experiences with Zombiewalk (and the odd Halloween costume) have taught me the power of the costume, so I'm endeavouring to be a little less judgmental when it comes to things like the SCA, LARPing, and so forth. Turns out I was actually pretty entertained by some of the manifestations of nerdiness on display - including a costume contest that I  caught only a portion of.

There were cool demonstrations of fencing and swordfighting from Academy Duello, who let people who visited their table pick up the swords and see how they felt.

There were skillful firedancing routines from Vesper Sephony that I had a poor view of and did not photograph, and there was a quirky striptease in reverse from Diamond Minx, beginnning pretty much nude and then adding layers (which she presumably took off again later).
There was also a miserable, drunken clown, Sir Buttercup Von Dingus, whose deadpan negativity and joylessness I'm pretty sure was meant to place him in some category of meta-clown humour, in the vein of Shakes the Clown or something that Andy Kaufman might have done. Where the joke is that you're not at all funny, it's hard to know how to respond, and I was most curious to see what he would do  when people started shouting things like "you're not funny" at him - which eventually they did - because his routine did seem to invite heckling. (He just told the heckler to shut the fuck up. I don't know what I'd expected, frankly. A homicidal rampage?). Briefly, somewhere in there, the sheer grim badness of some of his (mostly circus-themed) jokes - about falling in love with Minnie the Midget, and being "nuts over the girl," for instance - actually struck me as really, really funny, but I kept being nervous through the remainder of the evening while he was moping around the audience, flopping his big clown shoes as he walked. You never know what a grim clown, in character, is going to do.
There was one band I did not really understand, the Runaway Four (formerly the Tasty Animals), who really brought the nerd to Nerdfest, since they appeared to be playing video game music, with a bit of added jazziness and maybe at least a smidgen of awareness of the realm of Frank Zappa. I personally have nothing invested in video game music, and unlike many audience members, did not cheer when their performances - to judge by what was being projected on the Rickshaw screens - veered towards the realm of Super Mario, which - gasp! - means very little to me. The smiling white cloud on their keyboard stand was probably some sort of video game reference too. Did I get it? No. The Runaway Four may have successfully out-geeked me. There were certainly some people dancing through their interminable in-joke of a set. And, uh, they did it well. The drummer's cap looked like a big amanita muscaria, but that was presumably some sort of Mario reference, too?

There were also lots of cool merchants. My favourite by far was Makosla Creations, who had super-cool fimo dragons on display. If I were wealthier and the dragon type I would have gotten one. Ragnar the Trader's drinking horns - which gave the MC ample opportunity to joke about the time he spent polishing his horn - were what caught my girl's eye, but we ended up going home hornless. We didn't really need one: I found a horn of my own later that night, and shared it with her.

As far as music, I much preferred the music of the second act, Blackberry Wood, who did a swing-tempo rendition, for instance, of the Cure's "Love Cats," and who had pretty cute stripy costumes, complementing the substantial curves of a couple of their members. They kind of reminded me of the Creaking Planks, but in a peppier, zippier mode. It was fun!

With apologies to the Whiskeydicks, I missed the rest of Nerdfest - I was going to try to catch some of Bison's show down the street, but the cold rain and my poor choice of jacket interfered with that decision, too, so my girl and I ended up going home. I got to drop in at the Electric Owl and nab the new Bison EP, so I was happy. Still, Nerdfest seemed like a pretty entertaining event! Let's hope a good folk metal band gets added for their fifth year next year, I'd like an excuse to take the girl to a folk metal show...

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